Posts Tagged Fauzia Rafique

‘Both Haunting and Beautiful’ Skeena – a Testimonial by Bubbles McKegney

‘This incredible book is both haunting and beautiful. Fauzia Rafique writes with clarity and honesty, forcing the reader to think about elitism, racism, patriarchy, love, honour and obedience. It is told exclusively through the eyes of a Muslim woman, including her early life in Pakistan & later years in Canada. Skeena’s life affords a chilling glimpse at how easy it is to innocently fall back into like circumstances after finally escaping, at great personal cost, similar harm. I highly recommend this remarkable book by a remarkable writer.’

Bubbles McKegney
Retired teacher and book lover

Bubbles McKegney

Born in 1949 in a small town in Ontario, Bubbles McKegney graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Mathematics degree at the age of 19 & the following year from Althouse College of Education, Western University. She’s lived briefly in Kenya, Sweden, the United States, and Austria & has resided in Kincardine, Ontario for the past 40 years. She has been a feminist throughout her life, volunteering at the Women for Change Centre, Rape Crisis Centres and the local Women’s Shelter. An avid reader with particular sensitivity to gender issues, she juggled teaching high school and elementary school with raising two sons. Now retired, she lives with the love of her life with whom she’s been happily married for 49 years.

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Backstory
There is a sweet backstory to share. Sam McKegney, Associate Professor at the Department of English in Queen’s University Kingston ON, bought my novel Skeena at the 2017 Conference of Indigenous Literary Studies Association (ILSA) in Chilliwack BC, and he passed it onto his mother Bubbles, a ‘chronic’ reader who had a powerful experience reading it. She later shared her impressions with Sam. Last month, it was Bubbles’s 70th birthday and since she is not into acquiring material objects, Sam thought of giving her a present that would really make her happy. He contacted a few of her favorite authors and requested them to send video messages for the occasion. ‘Skeena is a work that has resonated for her significantly since she first read it back in 2017’, wrote Sam. And that became the reason for me to know Bubbles and to appreciate her thoughts about Skeena. In case you are curious after reading the last line of her bio above, here she is ‘with the love of her life’, Ian McKegney. Happy Birthday Bubbles!

Fauzia
gandholi.wordpress.com

SKEENA
libroslibertad.com/skeena
Holier Than Life
smashwords.com/books/view/329906
SAHEBAN
libroslibertad.com/the-adventures-of-saheban

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One of the 100 ‘must read’ Punjabi Books – Skeena

Novel ‘Skeena’ has been recognized as one of the ‘100 Must Read Books by Punjabi Authors’ in ‘Legacies of the Homeland’ (Notion Press, Chennai 2018). Researched and compiled by Paramjeet Singh with a Foreword by Rana Nayar, the collection lists 100 books in autobiography, novel, poetry, plays and short story collections. ‘Skeena’ is one of the 32 novels, and, an excellent book review earlier written by UK Author Rupinderpal Roop Singh Dhillon at SikhChic has been published by way of description. View Roop’s review here:
sikhchic.com/article

It is a compelling selection as ‘Skeena’ is Pakistani Punjab’s all time best-selling Punjabi novel; the most-reviewed Punjabi book in modern Punjabi literature; and, it is the only Punjabi book to have ever been launched in nine cities of Pakistan where each event was presented in partnership with local organizations and all the book launches were used to support a strong program for the enhancement of Punjabi language.

‘Legacies of the Homeland’ lists the books that have been published in both Punjabi and English. Order it here:
notionpress.com/read/legacies-of-the-homeland

I’m delighted to be a part of this selection. Indeed it is an honor to have my name in one of the 28 novelists listed. Thank you Paramjeet Singh.

Fauzia
gandholi.wordpress.com


SKEENA
libroslibertad.com/2016/11/05/skeena-a-novel-by-fauzia-rafique
Holier Than Life
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/329906
SAHEBAN
libroslibertad.com/2016/11/15/the-adventures-of-saheban-biography-of-a-relentless-warrior-a-novel-by-fauzia-rafique

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The Best Selling Punjabi Novel: Skeena

It’s a Best-Seller!

‘I am delighted to share with you the news that my first novel Skeena has become ‘the most-sold Punjabi novel’ of all times in Pakistan. In an email message, Publisher Amjad Salim Minhas said that ‘Sakina is the most sold Punjabi novel Sanjh has ever published; it is also the most sold Punjabi novel in Pakistan’.

This best-selling Shahmukhi Punjabi edition was published in 2007, and it was the most-launched book in Pakistan with events held in nine cities, each in partnership with local writers and literary organisations. This also made it the ‘most reviewed Punjabi book‘; and, the only novel that brought the movement for Punjabi language rights to the fore at each of its launching events.

‘It is interesting to note that Author Anthony Dalton’s 2011 predictions about Skeena’s English edition are sl–ow–ly but surely coming to pass in Punjabi, though we still have to see how the Gurmukhi edition does in the Indian Punjab where Skeena has never been published or marketed.

‘My gratitude to the readers, reviewers, peers; the publisher, editor, all members of the production team; and, the funders and supporters of Skeena’s Shahmukhi Punjabi edition for this profound and rewarding experience.

‘Thank you.’

Fauzia
gandholi.wordpress.com
novelskeena.wordpress.com

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Kishwar Naheed on ‘Skeena’

kishwar

When Skeena’s Punjabi edition was published by Sanjh Publications in Lahore in 2007, I was indeed curious to know what some people, including Kishwar Naheed, would think of it. For Islamabad launch, I offered her a copy. She looked at the cover, and an intriguing smile appeared on her face (she’ll read it, i thought). She said that she was about to travel abroad for a couple of weeks, so she’ll have time to read on the way over and back. Book launch in Islamabad was a month or so away.

Kishwar returned, and i spoke with her over the phone. She said nothing about Skeena.

On the day of the launch i arrived at the venue, and Kishwar was already there seated with Author Mansha Yaad (1937-2011).
Toon khufia book launch kerni paye ain? (Are you having a secret book launch?) Kishwar asked the moment she saw me.
‘Jee?’ I didn’t get it.
Shehr ch patta ee nahin kissay noon‘ (No one knows about it in the city).
I viewed my surroundings, there were about a dozen people ‘milling around’ in the upper portion of a restaurant, and i liked them all.
‘This is good enough for me’, i said.
Also, it was her city not mine, and she knew how Lahore Press Club had cancelled Skeena launch a day earlier, and how Academy of Letters in Islamabad had refrained from giving it space.
Patriarchy da lafz use keeta ae toon kidray kitab ch?’ (Did you use the word ‘patriarchy’ any where in the book?) She asked.
Certainly there was no attempt on my part to ban any words but it did not seem likely. It could not have been in Skeena’s vocabulary because the character was not projected to be as ‘politicized’ or ‘educated’. It was possible that the characters of Ruffo or Joyni or one of the ‘comrades’ may have used it, but i could not recall the instance.
‘No’, i shook my head.
‘I thought so’, Kishwar said.

Later, in her verbal presentation Kishwar gave us three thoughts about Skeena, each illuminating and each, for me, to be utterly grateful for.

Kishwar began by saying that she had read ‘Skeena’ thrice in the previous few weeks.
‘I read it three times: First, to become fluent in Punjabi (Kishwar’s mother tongue is Urdu, there aren’t many novels published in Punjabi, and so perhaps this was the first Punjabi novel she had actually read), the second time to understand it, and the third time to enjoy it’.

I need to take a pause here because this to me is about the most beautiful and gratifying compliment an author can get from any one; An author can get from another author; And, an author can get from Kishwar Naheed who is known to be a fierce and fearless critic of art and literature.

Then she said:
‘Skeena is a novel on patriarchy that never uses this word’.
What a wonderful thing to say about a novel! This one short sentence affirms that Skeena is not an extended pamphlet on Muslim women’s status or liberation or anything but a creative work going beyond slogans.

The third point was more detailed, and i don’t remember it all but it was something like this:
‘The telling of the story is deceptively simple. This simplicity of it’s expression is based in the profoundty of the Author’s lived experience.’

It is amazing that each of Kishwar’s three points bring into focus the very things that are unique about Skeena: it’s readability (almost everyone i know has read it two or three times), artistic value and literary expression, and the depth of its simplicity.

Islamabad launch of Skeena was well-organized by Publisher Amjad Saleem, and beautifully presided over and coordinated by Professor/Poet Ali Arshad Mir (1951-2008). There were over 35 people, and it turned out to be a warm gathering with fiery discussions and a couple of walk-outs.

The first walk-out was the first presenter Ashfaq Salim Mirza, who had cast a macho-istic gaze on Skeena, and had offended many people who wanted to challenge his assertions. He left without giving anyone a chance to say anything.

The second walk-out occurred near the end when someone observed that the depiction of the Left in Skeena was less than exalted. At that, long time revolutionary activist Iqbal Singh got up, waved his copy of Skeena at me, and said in Punjabi:
‘I’ll go home and read it, and if there is anything damaging to the Left, i will come after you’, and then he left.
Without giving me the chance to tell him that the character Iqbal Singh is not just (in part) named after him, but that the character’s flip religious identity was inspired by him. From the early 70s I knew Iqbal Singh as ‘Sathi (comrade) Iqbal’ , and would often meet him in gatherings at Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Lahore, but it was in 1998 that i came to know that he was a Sikh when my friend Zafaryab Ahmad (1953-2006) took me to his home in Rawalpindi to meet with his family.
I was in Pakistan many months after that but Sathi Iqbal Singh did not come after me, guess he did not find anything incriminating enough.
A few years later, he moved on.

After the launch, when Kishwar left, a couple of learned friends including Ahmad Salim observed that they had never seen Kishwar so mellow, even tender, when talking about a literary work.
Skeena must be a lucky woman!

Fauzia Rafique
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‘Skeena’- Mashraqi Te Maghrabi Tehzeeb di Awaz

‘Skeena – the Voice of eastern and western civilization’
By Fouzia Hanif
Researcher
Lahore, Pakistan
Punjabi in Roman

Rab sohney ne aes jag nu wan swaney te man mohney rangaan nal sjaya te ehna rangaan nal khaiden lai manukh nu aes dunia te bhajia. Jad manukh ney aes jag te akal te Shaur dian manzalan taey keetian taan ohney jo kuj dunia wich waparda wakhia uhnu apney kalam te akhraan raheen kagaz te ulaikia taan je smaaj di islah ho sakey. Aeh kalam te akhraan nal khaiden waley manukh hi likhari sadaey. Eahna likharian wichon ik na sadey Punjab di dharti di dhi da aey jehda na Fauzia Rafique aey. Ohna adab di dunia wich bey-shumaar kam keetay. Ohna da majuda kam jehra manzrey aam te aya aey o novel “Skeena” aey.

Pakistani zananian dey likhey gaey Punjabi novelan wichon Kahkashan Malik horaan dey novel ‘Chikar Rangi Murti’ tun baad meri nazar wich eh Pakistani novel nigar zanani da ik nidar te bebak tahreer te mabni novel aey. Jehra Punjabi novel nu ban-ul-akwami padhar de novelaan wich shamal karda aey.

Jadon main eh novel parhya taan mera ji keeta ke main ahdey barey kuj likhan. Aes novel nu pahli wari parh ke inj japia jivain Skeena ne hudkushi kar laye aey taan manu bohat mayusi hoe. kunje Skeena da kirdar jis taran bayania gia aey o ik dlair te nidar kurri da kirdar aey, ohnu hudkushi nahi karni chahidi si. Baad wich merey te aey haqiqat ashqar hoe je o te budhmat mazhab de nazriay de mutabiq soch rahi si ‘Meri koe Tawarikh nahi’. Kunje Budhmat Mazhab da ik groh dhian wich jan lai aey akhar bolda aey. Jadon main jania ke Skeena zinda aey taan maino changa laga.

Aes novel de plot, kirdar, mukalamey, nazria te mahol ya manzarkashi barey gal keeti javey taan novel da plot mazboot bunyadaan te usria nazar anda aey. Ahdey sarey kirdar apni apni thaan bharpur andaz nal byaney gae ney. Par Skeena te Jeeno da kirdar ajehyan zananian nu wakhanda aey jihrian okraan wich wi apney haqaan lai lardian nazar andian ney. Novel dey mukalme barey gal keeti javey te Skeena de mukalme barrey jandar ne kunje o niki omar tun hi amrani shaur rakhdi si ohda aey mukalama mulahza howey jihdey wich o apni maan ji nu sawal puchdi nazar andi aey:
“pishley mahenay tuseen Amman Zainab nu akhiya si ke ‘purey pind wichon teri nu sab tun wad fasal liyandi pai aey, te Maan Jee, tusin Gamu nu ap puchia si ke ‘Jeeno ney taenu puter nahi dita?’ te Maan Jee Jeeno mehfoz aslon nahi, ——–”

Aes novel wich nazriati paehlu wi kabley deed ney. Ahdey wich siyasi, muashrati, jagirdari atey khas toar te mazhabi paehlu bohat jandar te khubsurat andaz nal bayania gia aey. Pae kis traan mazhab da galat istmaal kar ke zanani da istahsal keeta ja reha aey. Novel wich aey gal bohat wazia aey jo kuj muashra kisey bunde nu dainda aey, ohda radeamal zaroor sahmne anda aey. Fauzia Rafique horaan ne manzarkushi wi dadhi changi keeti jivain ke novel dey aes paragraph tun zahir hunda aey:
“Thandi wa meray mukh te khilar jandi aey, chann akhan nu hanarey de dhongey part wakhanda, khulian asmana te lejanda aey. Haithaan anabi patraan ala Japani mapal, chandi varge safaidian te totey rangian soyan aley chiran nal khalota aey. Asman saf kala shisha, wich jurey sunehri tarey. va da ik bula koasa avey, ek thanda.
“Aj gharon bahar nikalan di raat aey.”

Novel wich kidhrey kidhrey jhol wi nazar anda aey. Jivain Skeena ik zaheen, mutjasus te amrani shaur rakhan wali zanani si te ohda Gamu nu na syanana, uchey mathey waley nojwan da nuro dey bhara wangar lagna, Joynie te Maggi de kirdaraan da Skeena di Khala te Saeen Jee nal mawazna karna kuj jachia nahi. Aes novel nu parh ke qari de andar shaur de kaee part khulde ney jihrey ohnu thaley dityaan gian galaan barey soch vachar karan te majboor karde ney:
– Manafqat tun bachna
– Mazhab da bharpur mutalaa karna te mazhab da sahee istamaal
– Siyasi nazam di islah
– Zananian de Khiyalat te nazriat nu haqeeqi mania wich samjan di loarr
– Maan pu da dhian de war lubhan lagian munde barey puri taraan janch partaal karna

Novel wich kuj ajehyaan galaan wi ney jihriyan ikhlakyat de hawaley nal changian nahi. Jevain Skeena da choti omar tun hi apney bhra nu sharab pinda wakh ke sharab peena, bhang peena, raat nu apni Maan Jee te bhra tun luk ke ghar tun bahir jana te Iqbal Singh urf Gamu nal gair kanooni taaluqat wagara. Aehna sarian galaan nu sada muashra tey aseen kadi pasand nahi karaan gey par gal aey way ke jadon muashrey wich tohade apney beja pabandian laan yaan tuhade tajasus nu daban yaan tohade wastey ajehey halat bana dain jivain Skeena dey ghar wale Ihtasham da Skeena nal rawaya wi zahir karda aey. Taan koi banda kis had taak ja sakda aey, Aye gal Skeena raheen sadey sahmney andi aey.

Mukdi gal aey wey ke muashrey dey amal te hi hamesh kisay wi bundey da radeamal zahir honda aey. Aseen kisey wi kaley bandey nu ilzam nahi de sakdey.

Email: fouziahanif786@gmail.com
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